It’s Coming Home…. to the West Midlands
England’s surprise success at this year’s World Cup in Russia got us thinking – somewhat tenuously, of course! Once England’s squad has landed back at Birmingham Airport where should they go, if they were to experience the West Midlands’ many fantastic attractions?
1. Jordan PICKFORD
England’s new goalkeeping sensation lends his surname to Digbeth’s Pickford Street, a stone’s throw (or parry… or diving save…) from many of the district’s attractions.
Digbeth is one of the most distinctive parts of Birmingham, offering visitors great, independent shopping; atmospheric industrial history and heritage; art; music; and some great places to eat and drink. For shopping, the arts or just a bite to eat, a visit to the Custard Factory complex is a must. It's Birmingham’s very own version of Carnaby Street and Shoreditch all rolled into one.
2. Kyle WALKER
England’s former Aston Villa defender might want to warm down after excelling in his new position as one of three centre halves by enjoying one of the Solihull Countryside circular walks.
Designed for the hardy walker, Solihull’s Green Man Trail takes you around the borough of Solihull from Castle Bromwich in the North to St Alphege Church in the town centre, exploring the area’s historic past with points of interest including Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens; the Grand Union Canal; and Malvern and Brueton Park.
3. Danny ROSE
If England’s wing-back from Tottenham Hotspur wants some downtime after a hectic month in Russia, Wightwick Manor and Gardens in Wolverhampton has an “art collection to rival most national galleries”, featuring Pre-Raphaelite works and William Morris interiors.
But perhaps more fittingly within its 17 acres, its Arts and Crafts garden boasts such classic English plants as the rose, with several varieties bordering the paths, lawns and in the formal rose garden.
5. John STONES
Having scored twice in the 6-1 win over Panama, England’s centre-half from Manchester City might want to celebrate with a memento from Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.
Home to more precious stones, finishing touches and tokens of love than anywhere else in the country, this is the beating heart of the nation’s jewellery manufacturing, with an estimated 40% of British jewellery made there, plus a growing arts scene and plenty of great restaurants and bars.
9. Harry KANE
England’s star striker made history against Panama by becoming only the third Three Lions player to score a World Cup hat-trick, after Geoff Hurst and Gary Lineker – and the Spurs forward can visit some more history in the shape of the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley.
Covering 26 acres of former industrial land, the museum transports visitors back in time to tell the story of the creation of the world’s first industrial landscape. You can learn about horseshoe making and glass blowing, pop into the old-fashioned sweet shop for a taste of yesterday or go back to school and discover just how tough it used to be – hopefully Kane will avoid the cane!
10. Raheem STERLING
While the England striker cost a fair bit of sterling when he moved to Manchester City in 2015, the Three Lions player can enjoy discovering more about the Roman Republic’s monetary system by exploring the significant collection of Roman coins at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Birmingham.
The Barber’s Roman coins total just over 5,000, nearly a third of the 16,000-strong collection at the gallery.
18. Ashley YOUNG
England’s wing-back spent four-and-a-half years playing for Aston Villa, so will be familiar with the region’s highlights. One place he won’t yet have laid eyes on, which opened while he and his team mates were recovering from a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Colombia, is Birmingham’s newest attraction for young visitors – the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre.
With ten LEGO play zones, two themed rides, a Build and Test area and a 4D cinema, the venue is perfect for young families including Ashley’s.
20. Dele ALLI
The England midfielder scored in the Three Lions’ quarter final victory over Sweden, and there’s no better way for him to mark his headed goal than by visiting some of the region’s speciality delis, stores and shops.
Some of the West Midlands’ finest foodie havens include Becketts Farm Shop in Wythall; Selfridges Food Hall in Bullring; Anderson & Hill Deli in the Great Western Arcade; and Maison Mayci in Kings Heath and Moseley. Del-icious!